Updated May 2019
This is a step-by-step guide to help you book the Colosseum Underground Guided Tour in Rome on the official website: www.coopculture.it. It’s the easiest, most cost-effective and time-saving way to glance onto the arena floor and visit the exclusive Colosseum Underground area. The underground tours sell out fast, and you have to jump through some hoops (which I explain below) if you have a group of over 6 people but if you can get your tickets, you’ll have the chance to stand in the same place as the gladiators and the slaves that ran the show behind the scenes under the arena floor and, see a reconstruction of the trapdoors that made the Colosseum such a popular (if gruesome) entertainment in ancient Rome.
What are the special access areas of the Colosseum that you can visit?
The Colosseum itself is open almost every day of the year (click here for a list of free days in 2019 and whether or not you should take advantage of them… or avoid them) but there are some restricted areas that require a little more forward planning if you want to see them. These areas include:
- access to the arena floor to stand where the gladiators would have stood, looking up at the screaming fans
- the Colosseum Underground which is technically just under the arena floor. You don’t actually go under the ground itself but instead have a view of the passageways or “backstage” areas where they stored sets, props, and for a short time the wild animals. You will also get a good view of a reconstructed trapdoor that was used to haul wild animals up to the arena floor level
- access to the third tier of the Colosseum that is closed to the public and to the “Belvedere” Panoramic viewing site that takes you so high you are actually above some sides of the Colosseum itself. This just opened a few years ago and the view is absolutely incredible!
All three of these places are usually visitable on separate tickets. Private guides (like us) can give tours of the arena floor and the Belvedere Panoramic levels. For options on these private tours click here. To book the group Colosseum underground tour through the official vendor, Coopculture, read on.
What to expect from a Coopculture underground Colosseum tour
The tour usually lasts about an hour and 15 minutes and will only cost you €23 total per adult and €2 to €13 per child under 18 with ID (different options explained below). With this ticket you can later visit the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill either later that day or the following day.
How are the tours? I’ve been on many of these tours myself and my experiences have been mixed. In general guides are informative, speak a good level of English, and give you plenty of time to take pictures. The benefit of having a guide through Coopculture is to gain access to these incredible sights and get a little bit of information along the way.
Note on construction: As of the spring of 2019, the Colosseum hypogeum is undergoing a renovation project so currently, much of what you would normally be able to see of the underground corridors is full of metal scaffolding and guys in hard hats.
When to book: This year, tickets are being released in waves so if you look at the calendar and see everything is sold out, there still might be another wave of tickets coming soon that you can take advantage of to see these sites. The first wave of tickets to be released are done so in a three month block so at the end of May they will make Underground tickets available for the months of July, August and September of 2019. Then there are another set of tickets released every first Thursday of the month at 3pm with availability for the following month. Reminder: this information is for the underground tickets at the Colosseum, not all Colosseum tickets.
Read on for my Step-by-Step Guide for booking the Colosseum Underground Tour through the official Coopculture website.
- Tickets are released for the coming month at 9am on the Monday after the third Sunday of the previous month. So if you want to buy tickets in July, you would go online the third Monday of June to book the tickets. Be warned, they sell out fast!
- Note: There are a few stairs to take down into the underground level but they also have an elevator if you have difficulty walking.
- Click this link to go directly to the page where you’ll be booking tickets. It will already be in English. https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm
- Scroll down to where you see “Choose your personal solution” and click the beige button marked “buy now.”
- Scroll down until you find the following option: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Ordinary Admission + Underground and Panoramic View and click the box marked “Details.”
- The first option you will see is “Colosseum, Roman Forum And Palatine Regular Entrance + Undergrounds” from €16. This is NOT for a tour. You are taken to see the arena floor for a moment and then down into the underground section but you won’t have a guide or any explanation. This could be the option you want, but just be aware of what you are buying!
- The following option is “Colosseum, Roman Forum And Palatine Regular Entrance + Underground English Tour.” This is from €23 for adults. This is the one you want for the english tour. Click “Details.”
- Scroll down to find the calendar where you can select the date you want. Once you have selected the date, you can select the time of your visit based on availability.
- There are many options for tickets and you want to be sure to choose the right one or you may be denied access to the sites (see picture below). Full entrance ticket for €23 is for adults over 18. The reduced ticket and tour for €13 is for European Citizens between 18 and 25 years old. Free ticket + Tour for €11 is for anyone under 18 either from the EU or non-EU countries. Your entrance is free but you still have to pay for the tour if you are under 18. However there is also: Free ticket + Free tour for €2. This is for anyone under 12 years old, 12 not included. Free entrance ticket for the guide for €0 is for if you are bringing a private tour guide with you. Because this post is all about booking a tour through the coopculture tour provider, this option isn’t relevant.
- Follow the steps to pay for the reservation by credit card and you should receive an email confirming your card was charged and a second email with the code and details of your booking.
- IMPORTANT: You can only book 6 spaces at a time and per credit card. What do you do if you have a group of 8 people? If you book for 6 people and then immediately after book for 2, the reservations will go through BUT after 24 hours, your second reservation will be cancelled and refunded. At this point there may no longer be spaces available to book again. If you must book for more than 6 people I would advise making the two bookings with two separate credit cards with two separate names so they look like separate bookings.
- On the day of your tour, arrive about half an hour before the scheduled time of your guided tour and be sure to bring photo id (either in original, photocopy, or a picture on your phone) for everyone in your group, especially if you have someone under 18. If you are late you risk not being able to do the tour.
- REMEMBER: Your entrance ticket is also valid for a visit to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which can be visited the same day or the day following your entrance to the Colosseum. You cannot enter the Colosseum again with this ticket.
Share your experience!
Let me know in the comments below if you found this guide helpful and please share your experience of visiting the Colosseum underground. Thanks to the comments below I’ve been alerted to changes in the policies of Coopculture that have changed since the original post publication and I’ve made those changes.
Want to skip all the hassle of booking yourself? Take a private guided tour of Ancient Roman sites with us and we’ll handle all the ticket bookings. Write to Lauren to ask a question or get started on customizing your tour experiences in Rome!